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San Francisco, California-based Unbabel, a startup delivering AI-driven translations to help enterprises deliver multilingual customer service, today announced that it has acquired the Edinburgh, Scotland-headquartered language service provider (LSP) Lingo24. The terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Founded in 2013, Unbabel offers a language operations platform that integrates with leading CX/CRM platforms and uses a combination of machine and human translation layers to deliver multilingual customer service across digital support channels such as email.

As the company explains, once an agent using its solution replies to a ticket request, their response automatically gets relayed to Unbabel where the company’s system anonymizes the data and translates the response text into the language of the original message using AI. Following this, the translation is forwarded to the company’s native-speaking editor community which checks the text and refines it with empathy, context, meaning, and cultural nuances before passing it back to the client and their customer.

The entire process takes only a matter of minutes, making customer handling relatively simpler for businesses operating globally. Unbabel already claims to have roped in major organizations with its solution, including Booking.com, Soundcloud, EasyJet, Logitech, and Panasonic.

Lingo24 expands Unbabel’s AI-driven translation offering

Now, with the strategic acquisition of Lingo24, the company is looking to strengthen its core offering while expanding toward additional use-cases. Founded in 2001, Lingo24 offers a customizable localization solution that uses AI and a team of specialist translators to help enterprises release huge volumes of content — from product descriptions and user guides to websites, software, and apps — across multiple markets and languages.

The company claims to publish content up to 65% faster and works with upwards of 500 companies serving customers in more than 120 languages, including Patagonia, Schneider Electric, Eventbrite, UPS, and Virgin Pulse.

“Lingo24 is an ideal partner for Unbabel to accelerate its growth because of Lingo24’s strong enterprise customer relationships, incredible talent, and deep expertise in localization, translation, and marketing,” Vasco Pedro, CEO and cofounder of Unbabel, said. “Our solution will now provide consistent, high-quality multilingual experiences across marketing and customer service channels, accelerating companies’ international growth.

In a nutshell, Unbabel will now allow enterprises to automate multilingual content across not just customer support, but also marketing departments and channels.

“Lingo24’s solution will be independent of Unbabel’s platform in the short. However, in the long term, we will provide a unified offering,” Pedro told Venturebeat. “This acquisition is the next step towards achieving Unbabel’s vision to build the world’s translation layer and will help businesses with a new class of technology and process to enable a unified language strategy through its Language Operations platform.”

Demand for localization surging

The acquisition comes as the demand for content localization continues to grow on the back of more and more businesses scaling and expanding worldwide. In fact, Unbabel’s Global Multilingual CX survey says that 71% of global consumers believe that it’s very important that a brand promotes and supports products/services in their native language. Similarly, Gartner Digital Market’s 2021 COVID-19 Impact on Business Strategy survey also revealed that 62% of buyers think it is moderately to very important to have software vendor communications, websites, and landing pages in their primary language.

As a result, in another Unbabel report, 62% of global decision-makers agreed that their translation efforts have gone up in the last year, while 59% said their organizations plan to increase their translation and/or localization budget next year.

Other players in the AI-driven translation space are Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Yandex. However, according to G2 scores, the offering from Unbabel sits in the high-performer category, which is ahead of IBM and AWS but behind Microsoft Translator, Google Translate, and Yandex Translate. According to Crunchbase data, the company has raised more than $91 million across seven funding rounds.

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